As the summer finally heats up, many will be making last-minute summer vacation travel plans. In fact, a recent survey shows almost 80 per cent of Canadians will leave town on vacation within the next few months. If you’re part of this group, you may find a vacation financial checklist handy. It will ensure you’ve addressed all the important financial stuff before you head out on the road, or fly off to some warm exotic location where you plan to sit on the beach all day long sipping Mai Tai.
Here’s some simple financial help in the form of 10 finance and money-related items for your checklist.
Create a budget
Determine how much you can afford to spend. And stick to your plan.
Check for ATM and debit payment access and costs
Relying on ATMs and debit payment abroad can be a recipe for trouble as you’ll often not only be charged fees by the service provider but also your financial institution. Find out about access and costs in advance so you can take steps to avoid surprises.
Automate your bill payments
Most financial institutions allow you to set up future bill payment through online banking, so you don’t miss bills while away.
Purchase foreign currency/carry some cash
It’s a good idea to carry some cash as ATMs and debit payment may not be available at some locations. Check beforehand how much foreign currency you can carry across the border.
Write down important contact/travel information
Losing your luggage, purse or wallet can be costly, in addition to being a major inconvenience. Write down the phone numbers for credit card providers and financial institutions and share this among your travel party, so you can quickly call to cancel your cards if stolen or lost. Include passport numbers and a number for the Canadian consulate if travelling abroad. You may also want to share your travel itinerary with close friends or family.
Carry both leading credit cards (VISA and MasterCard)
Some merchants may accept only one type of credit card. In addition to the convenience, some credit cards provide advantages like purchase insurance coverage.
Keep money and valuables in the hotel safe
It’s always better to lock away anything you would rather not lose while you’re out sightseeing.
Evaluate your insurance coverage (travel, auto, home)
Protect yourself with travel insurance, especially when travelling abroad. For road trips, make sure you have the right auto insurance because some policies only cover you for a certain number of kilometres a day. Check if your home and property insurance is up-to-date. Talk to your financial institution if you are unsure of what coverage you need.
Buy a money pouch/waist wallet for carrying money (and important documents)
These are helpful if you’ll be doing a lot of touring and want to ensure your money doesn’t fall prey to thieves.
Pay off credit card expenses
Once back, pay off any credit card balances as soon as possible to reduce interest costs.
Happy travels, wherever you go!
Kathy McGarrigle is Chief Operating Officer at Coast Capital Savings.